The 7 Children of John and Massey Pryor – Another Look

Allen L Pryor

I’ve been going back and forth to the History of Tennessee From the Earliest Time to The Present, Goodspeed Publishing Co. The Sumner County book has a bio of Allen L. Pryor (photograph above), published while he was alive in 1887. He states that he was one of 7 children of John Pryor and Massey Taylor. With recent records and revelations from DNA testing, we need to revisit the list of children attributed to this union (see bio).

William Pryor b. 1820 (tester #1 in previous posts) married in Sumner County, divorced in Sumner County, and was reported as a Sumner County resident who died en route to the California Gold Rush. His family stayed in close proximity to Allen L. Pryor. When Allen L. Pryor’s daughter, Betty Pryor Gregory, died– William’s grand-daughter became the second wife of Betty’s widower, Thomas Gregory.

William has long been included in our family tree and counted as the 8th child of John and Massey– assuming that Allen had not counted himself when counting siblings for his biography. It’s  beginning to look like there was no problem in Allen’s counting and that William was not a sibling, at least by birth. The following are the 7 children who through paper evidence DO tie directly to John and Massey Pryor.

1. Allen L. Pryor born Mar 1816. Allen states in his Goodspeed “vanity” bio that he was the son of John and Massey Pryor. When Massey died in 1867 he acted as the executor of her estate. John Pryor did not leave a will and no deeds have been found. If there was a namesake for Allen, he is not yet known.

2. Elizabeth Louisa Pryor born abt. 1822. Louisa married David McCulley/McCullough in 1850. Louisa purchased items from the estate of Massey Pryor in 1867. The children of Louisa Pryor McCulley were named in a deed which was part of the estate of Samuel Pryor b. 1835 [Sumner County, TN, Deed Book Volume 88, Page 63. Dated 28 October 1907, registered 12 February 1921]**, AS WELL AS the children of Allen L Pryor. Elizabeth may have been named for Massey’s mother Elizabeth Garrett who was daughter of Louisa Bernard.

3. Edward Pryor who died 1846 in the Mexican War and memorialized on the monument in Gallatin City Cemetery. Edward was unmarried at the time of his death, no record of land ownership exists, and he was never named on a census record. The best evidence of his relationship to Allen L. is that his name and the monument inscription was recorded in a very old diary that belonged to Allen L. Pryor. Edward’s possible namesake was Edmund/Edward Taylor, the father of Massey Taylor Pryor.

4. Jonathan Pryor born 1822-1824. He was living in Massey Pryor’s household on the 1850 Census. This is NOT the Jonathan Pryor who married Eliza Beasley and was in Nashville Prison. I suspect that Johnathan and his possible wife Elizabeth were the parents of the Joseph Pryor who was living with Massey in 1860. This Joseph D. Pryor lived with Allen L. Pryor after Massey’s death and was in his household on the 1870 and 1880 Census.

5. George W. Pryor born 1826-1828. James Wesley and Monroe Pryor, sons of George were also named in the 1907 deed mentioned in #2 above.

6. Alfred Pryor b. 1828. Alfred died at age 22 of typhus. His death is recorded on the 1850 Mortality Schedule. Alfred left a small estate and Allen L. Pryor was appointed administrator of the estate.

7. Samuel D. Pryor b. Feb 1835. In 1850 and 1860 he was counted in the household of Massey Pryor. After his death, the deed for his land mentioned in #2 above names his heirs.

** It should be noted that in the estate deed for Samuel D. Pryor names of children are referenced for all his siblings (these are Samuel’s nieces and nephews): Allen L., Louisa, George W. However, the children of Jonathan were not named (were they deceased?) nor were the children of William Pryor b. 1820. All of William’s children were very much alive in 1907, and one was still living in 1921 when the deed was filed. All of William’s children lived and died in Sumner County. The exclusion of William’s children may be the best evidence that he was not one of Allen L. Pryor’s siblings.

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